White Lightning

Album: White Lightning and Other Favorites (1959)
Charted: 73
Play Video


  • George Jones' spirited reading of J.P. Richardson (aka the Big Bopper)'s "White Lightning" was his first country #1. The song was recorded only one week after Jones' good friend Richardson's tragic death in the airplane crash that also killed Buddy Holly and Ritchie Valens.
  • Produced by Buddy Killen, thanks to Jones drinking, it took over 80 takes to get the recording right. The country star recalled in his 1997 memoir, I Lived to Tell It All: "I was drinking heavily throughout the session, and Killen later said we did 83 takes before we got one we could use," Jones wrote.

    "Killen said he wore the skin off his fingers playing that same opening, and had to wear Band-Aids to cover raw blisters. Years later he said he could still remember the pain from playing that kick-off over and over the stiff, woven-wire strings of an upright bass."
  • This charming story of country folk cooking up near-lethal spirit was George Jones' theme tune.

Comments: 1

  • Jennifur Sun from RamonaOuch about the bass players fingers. Don't drink but like this tune.
see more comments

Editor's Picks

David Sancious

David SanciousSongwriter Interviews

Keyboard great David Sancious talks about his work with Sting, Seal, Springsteen, Clapton and Aretha, and explains what quantum physics has to do with making music.

70s Music Quiz 1

70s Music Quiz 1Music Quiz

The '70s gave us Muppets, disco and Van Halen, all which show up in this groovy quiz.

Steely Dan

Steely DanFact or Fiction

Did they really trade their guitarist to The Doobie Brothers? Are they named after something naughty? And what's up with the band name?

They Might Be Giants

They Might Be GiantsSongwriter Interviews

Who writes a song about a name they found in a phone book? That's just one of the everyday things these guys find to sing about. Anything in their field of vision or general scope of knowledge is fair game. If you cross paths with them, so are you.

Grateful Dead Characters

Grateful Dead CharactersMusic Quiz

Many unusual folks appear in Grateful Dead songs. Can you identify them?

Sarah Brightman

Sarah BrightmanSongwriter Interviews

One of the most popular classical vocalists in the land is lining up a trip to space, which is the inspiration for many of her songs.